Passover isn’t far away. I know little of Jewish traditions, so it was a surprise to me that dumplings are often involved. I teamed up with Liz to get a little a taste (pun intended) of the Passover tradition by making matzo balls.

The balls are made from matzo meal, from unleavened matzo bread. In the Passover story, Israelite slaves could not wait for their bread to rise (leaven) before fleeing Egypt, so it’s now a symbol of the holiday.

Matzo ground into meal in a container

Liz had a recipe to work from and I arranged the groceries. The first challenge for me was to work out where to get the matzo – I picked some up from a gourmet deli. From the moment of purchase I was doomed:

Matzo, matzo man. I want to be, a matzo man!
(To the Village People tune, ‘Macho man’)

In other bad luck, I ended up with matzo bread instead of matzo meal. Fortunately Liz deconstructed it with a blender until it looked a little like oats.

Matzo balls in chicken soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

Matzo balls boiling in a pot on the stove

For soup

  • Whole chicken
  • Onion, quartered
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • Bunch of parsley
  • 3 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 4 cups choy sum

For dumplings

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tbsp parsley

Method

  1. Chicken, greens and matzo balls in bowlsPut the chicken, onion, celery, garlic and 2 tbsp parsley in a pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer the soup, turning the chicken after 30 minutes.
  3. Once the chicken has been turned, get started on the matzo balls by whisking together oil, water and eggs.
  4. Stir in salt, matzo meal and parsley.
  5. Refrigerate dumpling mix for 15 minutes.
  6. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
  7. Use hands to shape dumpling mix into balls about 2.5 cm in diameter.
  8. Carefully drop the balls into the boiling water.
  9. Boil the balls for 30 minutes.
  10. 10 minutes before the balls are due to be done, add choy sum, a handful of parsley and dill to the pot with the chicken soup.
  11. Once the 30 minutes is up, cut open a ball to test if it is cooked – if so, it will be uniform in colour.
  12. Take balls off the boil once cooked.
  13. Remove the whole chicken from the soup, shred the meat and return the meat to the soup pot.
  14. Remove balls from their pot with a slotted spoon and add them to the soup.

Review

Mike was kind enough to give the dish a try and volunteer what he thought…

Mike: It was good.

Jas: That’s your review? It was good?

Mike: It was … good. Five stars.

Jas: Really? Five stars?!

Mike: Yeah. Five stars out of twenty.

Then Mike held the bowl to his mouth and proceeded to slurp out the dregs, which indicates that it was actually pretty darn good.

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